It seems to me that the truth ought to be a defense against any charge of racism or slander. You shouldn't be able to generate outrage over the fact that person A calls person B a communist, for instance, if person B is on record identifying himself as a communist.
And yet that's partly what Rachel Maddow does in her extremely lame attempt to prove that Fox News in general and Bill O'Reilly in particular are trying to make white people afraid of black people
. She gives us the following examples:
- The Shirley Sherrod video
- ACORN sting videos
- Van Jones is a Marxist
- Eugene Robinson "traffics in racism"
- Black/White divide on limited government
Let's go through these, in terms of news value, one at a time...
On the Sherrod video, O'Reilly's report didn't appear until after
she'd been fired at which point it quickly became national news. CNN also ran the clip twice the same night. Is Anderson Cooper trying to scare white people too?
Next, the ACORN sting is not "discredited." As I've pointed out several times, Clark Hoyt, ombudsman at the New York Times
, looked at all the evidence and concluded
that the manufactured sideshow
about what the pair wore did not change the fact that they had presented themselves as a pimp and prostitute, nor did it cause the entire sting to unravel.
Rather than acknowledge any of this, Maddow points to the fact that liberal Jerry Brown failed to file charges as proof that nothing untoward happened on the tapes. What bullpucky. Governor Moonbeam himself said when announcing the decision
, "A few ACORN members exhibited terrible judgment and highly inappropriate behavior in videotapes obtained in the investigation." Most Americans, white and black, could see this; apparently Rachel Maddow can not. But "highly inappropriate" behavior is more than enough to make the story newsworthy. Says who? Says the Times
, which later admitted they had failed to give the story enough coverage.
As for Van Jones, he is a self-identified Marxist and co-founder of the explicitly communist group STORM. You can read a pdf put out by the group itself here
. Was his firing newsworthy? Once again, the Times
said it was and that their failure to cover it promptly revealed a problem
in their news gathering. Sorry, Rachel, your news judgment has been overruled.
[caption id="attachment_57762" align="aligncenter" width="340" caption="Rachel Maddow"][/caption]
Eugene Robinson writes frequently about racial topics, including this defense
of Harry Reid's statements about the "light-skinned" President. I don't consider that piece racism, but Robinson definitely traffics in race. Maybe O'Reilly misspoke. Even if he didn't, where exactly is the fear factor here. He's talking about a Washington Post
columnist. Are Fox viewers being told to fear an assault of prose?
As for Maddow's final clip, to which she devotes the most screen time, O'Reilly was discussing the findings of this Gallup survey
. How can Maddow, minutes after blasting O'Reilly for his stance on the Sherrod video, then edit the clip of O'Reilly so dishonestly that viewers will have no idea of the proper context of his statements? That level of bullpucky should give Maddow whiplash, but apparently it doesn't.
So let’s sum up Maddow's treatment of the five points of evidence she offers. She was dishonest about the Sherrod video, failing to mention the timing and the fact that other networks and other hosts ran similar stories. She was extremely dishonest about the ACORN sting, failing to note that the Times
found it both newsworthy and credible. She was simply wrong on the facts about Van Jones, who really is a Marxist and whose firing was also judged newsworthy by the Times
. She finds an off-the-cuff quote about Eugene Robinson which may or may not be fair but which has no connection to her point about "scaring white people." Finally she was extremely dishonest in her editing of O'Reilly's comments on a Gallup survey of black vs. white views on limited government. Taken together, this is Maddow's best argument that Fox is stoking racism. And taken together, this is her idea of responsible journalism.
What a load of bullpucky.